Ahh-Mazing “AHA!” Discovery for August 2018 — Morgan Wesson or More Horse Power

by Dana Gourley on July 19, 2018

in Ahh-Mazing Discoveries, Inventified

Morgan Wesson comes from equestrian royalty. His grandfather, Justin Morgan, bred the original Morgan Horses. It seems destiny that Rob Gourley first met his life-long friend at The Pony Club outside Honeoye Falls, N.Y. Rob recalls seeing Morgan for the first time in his dressage outfit, wearing a short-tailed jacket and a long-sleeved white shirt tucked neatly into riding breeches or jodhpurs.

Rob told me that he did not ride at The Pony Club. He was only there to help trailer the horses for his younger sisters to ride. He also groomed and fed the horses so he has a strong opinion about horses: “too much work, too dumb and too slow!”.*

Rob convinced Morgan (and his father, Rufus, who was a corporate officer for Kodak) to go for real horse power … let’s build a dune buggy together! As a young teen, Rob had welding experience in building an electric-battery Model-T car for his younger sisters and cousins, using instructions published in a Popular Mechanics magazine. The kid’s car is shown in the photo to the right (modeled with our niece and nephew years later).

Dune Buggy Story

Rufus worked on obtaining the title on an abandoned stolen Volkswagen beetle. The boys used the VW chaise for the dune buggy and added dual carburetors for more speed performance. Rufus wanted to make sure Rob’s welding made a street-safe vehicle to travel the winding hillside roads of St. John, Virgin Islands. He invited an engineer from Kodak to inspect the repurposed vehicle. Rob said … “The engineer was so impressed with the work on the dune buggy that he requested that we make him one!”.

One funny story was when young Morgan and Rob visited with Mrs. Firestone (wife of Harvey Jr.). They brought over the dune buggy to show her. She asked Rob why Firestone tires were not on the new dune buggy? Rob’s notorious inclination to tell it like it is, did not fail him on that occasion. He told her that Firestone tires were no good. She looked at him and then said she must check into this.**

In preparation for the transport of the dune buggy to the Virgin Islands, Rob created an anti-theft system. It was good since someone tried but failed to steal the buggy. It arrived in St. John Island with exposed hot wires.  The dune buggy was driven by the Wesson family members for years. Morgan’s parents had daily jaunts to Caneel Bay Resort to enjoy lunch with their friends.

Morgan himself is a published book author and movie maker with a lifetime interest in the creative minds and lives of inventors including Alexander Graham Bell (co-authored with Bell’s great grandson).  Morgan is a MIT graduate, he is married (Georgia), and they have two grown children (Will and Emily). The Wessons live with a couple of dogs outside Rochester, NY. Morgan has a life-long passion for performance cars (yes, interest in horses has waned). Over the past years, he researches all new cars coming onto the market and tells Rob about the advancements toward a perfect sustainable alternative-energy car with battery capacity to go the long distance.

Morgan has been an inspiration for several of our articles through the years including those about his Wesson-side grandfather, his champion urban line-skiing son, and an editorial critique of Rob Gourley’s bio. We have appreciated Morgan’s unwavering support and fascination of Rob’s water discovery including arranging an introduction to both scientists and a major benefactor of MIT.

* Before the horse-lovers send letters to Rob, somewhat in his defense, I have personally witnessed in living in a horse community located east of Sarasota, FL. for over thirty years, there are both fewer horses and horse riders on the equestrian trails. Also, some of the pickup trucks with horse trailer hitches have been traded in for luxury air-conditioned sedans with their family dogs riding beside them.

** Message from Morgan, dated July 19, 2018: “The Firestone confrontations got serious later. Jane and Ray Firestone himself, CEO of Firestone, visited Rufus and Betts (Morgan’s parents) on St. John. Rob might have been on the island then. As the Firestones got off the Red Hook ferry, Rufus showed up at the town dock in this dune buggy. Betts and Jane took the bags in the Jeep (second car). Ray immediately noticed those wide Goodyear tires (not Firestones) upfront on the dune buggy as he got in. Rufus apologized! Ray said no problem there. Just do what we do in the tire industry: Get some white paint and an artist brush and we’ll change that …

So far no picture of the dune buggy … I did notice this week a scene in Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s decent roller derby movie playing on HBO now. The coach of that mythical movie team arrives at practice in a bronze metal flake dune buggy that looks close to our beast. Stay cool. M” 

*** Message from one of Rob’s cousins, Robin, who owns a horse farm in Virginia: “Many people believe that the reason Justin Morgan’s horse was so prepotent was because he was, in fact, a Cheval Canadien (or, Canadian Horse). It is a closely bred and very prepotent breed. I have had one and known many. I have a friend who has both a Canadian and a Morgan stallion and uses the progeny interchangeably in her four-in-hand driving they are so similar in appearance and defining characteristics. Just an extra tidbit!” BTW, we had to look up the definition for “prepotent”. The term is used in breeding animals when hereditary characteristics are effectively transmitted to offspring.

For more about Rob Gourley Jr.’s Inventified Family and Friends, please visit this link.

Sharing AHA! Discoveries

Do you have a friend who sparked a new interest in your life? Do you have either an Ahh-mazing “AHA!” Discovery or a story to share?

Email inquiries@aquanew.com. This can be any idea or endeavor that may help others in their own revelation or better quality of life. Alternatively, want to nominate someone with special skills of creativity and innovation? Let us know!

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